From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 2-4–Nineteenth-century period details, lively dialogue that is well suited to reading aloud, and sly humor distinguish this retelling. The basic plot is familiar, yet slight changes in details and dialogue deftly customize the tone. The father is portrayed as a doting parent whose flattering introductions to his daughters are provided in staccato. Absolutely lovely, smashing girl, mad about clothes, and amusingly countered by the author's, Now you might consider that Gertrude in fact looked a little spoiled and not very grateful…. Even Beauty is a little vain; when she first touches the beast, she is amazed to see how pale and delicate her hand looked against its fur. Barrett's lovely watercolor illustrations vary in size and shape and the effective use of light and shadow communicates the shifting moods. The haunting landscapes and stark interiors contrast with sunlit, outdoor scenes presented in charming little vignettes. A poignant spread shows Beauty weeping over her Beast. There are many delightful versions of this complex story, and each has its own charm. Certainly, Marianna Mayer's Beauty and the Beast (S & S, 1987) set a high standard. Libraries that feature variants of folklore stories will want this vibrant edition.–Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA
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Eilenberg's lush retelling of the great fairy tale, set in the nineteenth century, pulls out all the stops with a long, lyrical text and beautiful watercolor pictures that depict both the luxury and the anguish of the story. Barrett's illustrations express the contrasts of the story, from the family scenes of the terrible sisters to the view of the brave young hero who goes on a journey to save her miserable dad. Then there are the dark and stormy landscapes surrounding the palace. The sad, lonely monster is a huge demonic presence, "hateful and yet so full of heart, so easy to pain, so eager to please." The final embrace that saves the Beast is a triumphant climax in both words and art. Great for storytelling, especially for readers old enough to understand a little about the importance of love. Hazel Rochman
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